Keys of Change: Marc Blitzstein & Paul Robeson

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composer Marc Blitzstein

Marc Blitzstein at work

Today’s show focuses on Paul Robeson and Marc Blitzstein, both ardent socialists, passionate musicians, charismatic personalities, and most of all, both willing to lay everything on the line for their beliefs. Both were harassed by the House Un-american Committee. In the end, Marc was murdered because he was gay. And Robeson died depressed, his life in ruins because of his communist associations.

Political lives, musical lives. A series on ten American musicians whose work was/is profoundly influenced by the forces of politics. This series grew out of a conversation I had a few years ago with composer and improviser Donal Fox. We began arguing about the relevance of race in music, and realized that our conflicting ideas made for a wonderful dialogue. Hence the inspiration for “Keys of Change.”

AMERICAN HIGHWAYS # 109 KEYS OF CHANGE

Theme Music 0.1
Charles Ives, arr William Schuman
Variations on America
The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy
RCA Red Seal ‎– SB 6798

Theme Music 0.2
Donal Fox
The Scream
Guy Livingston, piano
WERGO 6649-2

Paul Robeson

Trad, arr. Brown
Go Down, Moses
Joshua fit the battle of Jericho
Paul Robeson, bass
Roslin Records 2011

Marc Blitzstein
The Purest Kind of a Guy” (Joe’s Birthday Song) from the opera No for an Answer
Paul Robeson Jr., bass & Lawrence Brown, piano
Sony BMG Music 1997 re-release

traditional
Hassidic Chant: Kaddish
Paul Robeson, bass
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2007

Traditional
John Brown’s Body
Paul Robeson, bass
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2006

Paul Robeson was the star of the Rutgers football team, and went on to play for the NFL

Paul Robeson, football star

Marc Blitzstein
Regina: ACT 2, Scene 2 – No. 3 – Transition
Scottish Opera Orch & Chorus; John Mauceri, Director; Tommy Krasker, producer.
Decca 433 812-2

Marc Blitzstein
Act 2 Scene 7: Nick “I Speak in English Now“from No for an Answer
No for an Answer Original Cast
Pavilion Records GEMS CD 0009

composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph
The Ghosts Keep Calling” from We Shall Not be Moved
Lauren Whitehead & Kirstin Chávez, and the Opera Philadelphia cast and orchestra, conducted by Viswa Subbaraman
promo video – youtube

composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph
Love is the only word sweeter than black” from We Shall Not be Moved
Opera Philadelphia cast and orchestra, conducted by Viswa Subbaraman
promo video – youtube

Marc Blitzstein (arr. David Robbins)
The Cradle Will Rock: “Freedom of the Press
Steven Tyler; Henry Stram; Tim Jerome, singers
RCA Victor 09026-63577-2

Marc Blitzstein (arr. David Robbins)
The Cradle Will Rock: “Art for Art’s Sake” & “Finale
David Campbell;Steven Tyler;Henry Stram;Tim Jerome;Vicki Clark;Erin Hill;Dan Jenkins;Chris McKinney
RCA Victor 09026-63577-2

Marc Blitzstein
¾ dance
Bennett Lerner, pianist
Etcetera 1986 CD KTC 1019

Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht (Blitzstein adaptation), arrangement
Mack the Knife
Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington Orchestra & Jimmy Jones Trio
Eagle Vision ‎– EREDV431

Marc Blitzstein
Regina: ACT 2, Scene 2 – No. 7 – Intro and Gallop
Scottish Opera Orch & Chorus; John Mauceri, Director; Tommy Krasker, producer.
Decca 433 812-2

Charles Ives
They Are There! (A War Song March) (arr. for Concert Band)
US Marine Band
Naxos 8.570559

Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, and Robert Shaw

Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, and Robert Shaw – recording the Airborne Symphony

 

 

 

 

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